CSPs have many platform-service options

Platform-based businesses, from Alibaba to Uber, are dominating the digital economy. How can telcos use their assets to become platform players too?The infographic* shows immediate opportunites, Vodafone’s proof of concept, underneath it, looks a little further out, to anything as a service.

But the Platform for IoT and anything as a service proof-of-concept Catalyst project, led by Vodafone, shows the potential is almost limitless, especially when combined with emerging technologies. Dr. Lester Thomas, Chief Systems Architect, Vodafone Group, reckons, “If you can use a platform and 5G network slicing to enable drones as a service, you can deliver pretty much anything as a service.

“We chose drones because it’s a crazy application [because]If I can demonstrate 5G slicing for drones, I can certainly demonstrate it works for other things like smart meters, smart cities and digital health.” In the first phase of the project, the team, which also includes Centina Systems, Huawei, Infosys and Invercloud, looked at how to onboard small and medium-sized enterprises to a digital ecosystem, how to monetize and assure services for them, and how to orchestrate the network to ensure efficiency.

Adding mobile

The first phase was a fixed network solution but the most recent phase, which was demonstrated at TM Forum Live! in May, added mobility and IoT, in this case offering drones as a service for precision farming. The team used TM Forum’s new CurateFX software-as-a-service tool to document user journeys and discover which APIs they would need.

CurateFx, which is built on TM Forum’s Frameworx, Partnering Toolkit and Open APIs, is a cloudbased service that provides stepby- step blueprints, informationbased decision tools, visualization maps and collaborative capabilities to help companies build digital ecosystems.

Some of the interesting findings of the Catalyst are that businesses want platforms but they don’t just want connectivity; they also want the platform operator to provide data analytics that they can use and perhaps
monetize. Also, the team discovered that the real opportunity for CSPs likely lies in creating a network of platforms, delivering a connectivity slice across them, assuring the services end to end and offering data analytics along with charging and billing as add-on services.

Watch this video to learn more about the Catalyst project and its findings.

*The graphic is taken from our research report, published in July 2017, 5G: Is platform the killer use case?, written by Dawn Bushaus. It can be downloaded, free, by our members by registering on our website. Non-members can download selected highlights from here or contact Annie Turner if they want to buy the full report.


About The Author

Snr Director, Research & Media

Annie Turner has been researching and writing about the communications industry since the 1980s, editing magazines dedicated to the subject including titles published by Thomson International and The Economist Group. She has contributed articles to many publications, including national and international newspapers such as the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune, and a multitude of business-to-business titles. She joined the TM Forum in 2010 and is responsible for overseeing the content of the Research and Publications portfolio.

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